Qntoersitg of J13ort& Carolina
Collection of jpottfi Catolmtana
Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Darst, D. D,
Bishop of East Carolina
GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
January 28, 1931
Diocesan Convention Address
— BY —
Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Dar£, D. D.
GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
January 28, 1931.
Brethren of the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese
of East Carolina :
"Grace be unto you, and peace from God, our
Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
We are meeting today in a time of unrest, con-
fusion and fear, and I pray that God, the Holy
Ghost, may guide us in our deliberations and in-
spire us with His wisdom that we may be enabled
to carry back to our people a message so compell-
ing in its courage, and so unfaltering in its faith,
that the whole Diocese may respond with renewed
consecration to the call of Christ and His Church.
As we look back over the past year, we find
many reasons for real encouragement. The Con-
firmations have been larger than for many years ;
the Clergy generally have never served more
faithfully ; and the Laity, in many instances, have
displayed real sacrificial devotion in their loyalty
IV} to the Church and its Program,
js» Our people generally have suffered materially;
^! many of them have felt the pinch of genuine
poverty, and have had to make real sacrifices,
involving the disruption of cherished plans for
themselves and for their children.
And yet, in spite of this wide-spread condition,
yes, perhaps because of this condition, I have seen
a deepening of the spiritual life of this people such
as I have not seen before during the sixteen years
in which I have been permitted to serve you.
We have seen the crashing of financial institu-
tions in which we trusted. We have heard the
tramp of thousands of our unemployed brothers
seeking a chance to live. We have seen the toil
of the farmer come to naught, and we have sensed
the deep silence of our closed factories and mills.
We have had to face stark realities, and some of
us, I believe, have made a fresh discovery of God.
It has been a time to try men's souls, and I be-
lieve we have needed such a time, a testing time,
when men, shaken from false security and transi-
ent content, fall back upon God and find peace.
The easy days, so sadly abused, so wantony
squandered, are gone, and the very salvation of
America may depend upon the length of time
they remain away.
The hard days are here — the days of planning
and thinking and giving up, the days of readjust-
ment of living and restoration of values and dis-
covery of self. These days are here — may we
have the courage to thank God for them ; may we
have the wisdom to use them, not as valleys of
depressions through which we toil in bitterness
and defeat, but as God's own highways, over
which we march in confidence and faith to that
larger life of service, that wider field of usefulness
that we could have never known if we had not
learned the lesson of the hard high road.
At such a time as this, we should pause and take
stock of our resources. We should ask ourselves :
Have I been living in a fool's paradise? Have I
been depending upon temporary, transient resour-
ces? Have I anything left upon which to build
Such an examination, honestly made, should
lead us to a realization of the truth that we have
lost nothing that is permanent, nothing that
makes for character, nothing that could possibly
endure for one moment after the breath leaves
our body ; and that we still have the possibility of
possessing all things that make for the splendor
of our manhood and the winning of our souls.
We still have God. We have our Master, Christ.
We have membership in His body, the Church.
We have our task, and we have the certainty of
victory, through Faith.
In a recent issue of a financial pamphlet, I read
these words: "These times test men's courage,
and they test faith more than courage.
There is such a thing as being fool-hardy and
calling it courage; but experience shows that our
peril is the lack of faith.
It would seem as though some social leaders
have no faith in America, and some Church lead-
ers have no faith in God. A defeatist attitude
denominates most enterprises for the well-being
of society and the advancement of the Kingdom
of God. We are in retreat. The challenge of the
sacrificial has been lost in coping with emergen-
Reductions, Curtailments, Cuts, Discarded Pro-
grams, Abandoned Fields, Surrender, Retreat.
These are the prevailing attitudes. Faith has
crumpled. Men charged with great programs are
panic stricken. They have lost their nerve.
Courage, Love, Spiritual Passion, Sacrifice, Re-
ligious Fervor, Service, Generosity. The sense of
immediacy, the sense o f Opportunity, Faith.
These are the qualifications for a time like this."
God send us faith. God send us courage to
thank Him for permitting us to live and labor in
such a time as this.
At such a time as this, we take notice of our
foundations, we dwell on the glory of our heri-
tage; our minds swing back to the beginnings of
this mighty organism, of which we are living
members, the Church of the Living God.
We see a little band of men and women gather-
ed in an upper room in Jerusalem. We wait with
them as they wait for the Promised Power. We
see them going out from that little corner of the
world in response to the marching orders of their
Master. We see them go without material equip-
ment, without influence or earthly power. We
see them in complete and glad surrender to the
will of God, in absolute loyalty to Christ, in utter
self-forgetfulness, going forth against kingdoms
of selfishness and lust and greed and sin, and we
see them winning those kingdoms and transform-
ing them into the kingdoms of our Lord and of
We speak of our sufferings, our little self de-
nials, our inability to maintain our luxuries. God
pity us for our pettiness. They thanked God that
they were permitted to suffer for His sake, and
even in awful flame of martydom they lifted their
radiant faces to the throne of God and cried out
their triumphant death song "Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth."
At such a time as this, God is leading His
Church back to the meaning of the Cross, so that
it may learn again the glory of its mission; so
that from the lesson of that Cross, it may march
forward with fresh faith and passionate devotion
to join forces with that lonely leader, Christ, who
has been waiting so long for us to come.
At such a time as this we must take stock of
our environment and make a survey of the con-
ditions of our day. It does not require the skill
of a keen student of human affairs to realize that
conditions in our world are far from normal. Un-
rest and rebellion characterize a large section of
the world ; hate and fear permeate human society.
China has her revolutions. Russia and her radi-
cal experiments are no longer distant disturbing
movements to which we give casual, curious at-
tention from time to time. Industrial revolution
lifts its head in our own State and Nation, and
radical influence find their way more and more in-
to the very life of our working people. In a recent
article written by my friend, Joseph Fort Newton,
"As the Russian repudiation of religion may
help to renew our faith, so the up-rooting of hu-
manity in economic and social affairs may force
us to put our own house in order. It is not simply
a polemic, but a portent, and if it looks at first
like the idealism of hell, to ignore it is folly.
It does turn the saarch light on features of our
own economic system which are ghastly in their
injustice and brutal in their exploitation of man
by man. It shows, as in a horrible apocalypse,
that our selfish, individualistic commercialism, so
ready to use men to make money for private gain
and luxurious display, instead of using money to
make men, is nothing but organized atheism. It
is not only unchristian, it is inhuman.
Surely, we now know that no society has any
secure future but that in which the people, all
together, learn to cooperate as part of a common
life for the common good. Our hope lies in a
practical fraternal righteousness, in which the
skill of science is employed to serve the masses of
mankind. In short, our religion must first do
justly, then love mercy, if it is to lead men to
walk humbly with God."
We must realize that our house is not in order.
With far more than half of the people in this great
nation outside of any form of organized religion,
with half of the people of this State owing no
allegiance to any branch of God's Church. With
an increasing disregard of law on the part of re-
spectable citizens, with the appalling increase of
crime among youth, with the breaking down of
the standard of decency in human relations, we
must know that our house is not in order, and
that the Kingdom of God on earth is still an elu-
In our own Diocese, we see the need for a more
compelling faith and finer measure of sacrificial
devotion on the part of our people. We have held
our own. We have pushed forward the bound-
aries of the Kingdom a little bit here and there,
but we must admit, in shame and humility, that
we have failed to win any great objectives for
Christ and His Church. From the ignorant and
the sinning, from the forgotten and the neglected,
from the tenant farmer and the pale children of
the mill village, the call is coming for our leader-
ship, our loving sympathy, our Christ-like devo-
tion to those for whom He died.
"He loved me, and He gave Himself for me"
cried St. Paul out of the fulness of his grateful
heart, as, in absolute surrender, he gave himself
to the mighty work to which he had been devinely
called. The same blessed assurance should send
us out to-day, determined, at whatever cost, to
play our full joyful part in carrying that blessed
message to the heart of a weary, waiting world.
In the days of our prosperity, we gave, without
joy and without sacrifice, to the support of the
Church and the spread of the Kingdom of Christ,
and because so many of us gave without this sense
of privilege, the act was not sacramental, and,
therefore, easily abandoned when prosperity ceas-
ed. Because our meat was not to do the will of
God, we were hungry, even in our prosperity and
miserable in our poverty.
Admitting our failures, we will not admit de-
feat ; conscious of our poverty of soul, we will not
refuse to be fed; unworthy of our Sonship, we
will not give up our heritage. We will, please
God, go on from this place with courage and with
faith to accomplish the work committed to our
hands. We will clear from our souls those barri-
ers that have blocked the way of Jesus. We will
offer and present ourselves to His service. Out
of our plenty, we have given with indifference;
out of our poverty, we will offer with joy. We
will face the problems of our day with under-
standing hearts, and give to a perplexed and dis-
tressed people that leadership which will enable
them to find God, and in finding Him. t
Surely we can say with a measure of confidence
and joy that we have cr-me to the Kingdom for
such a time as this, a time of danger and opportu-
nity and high privilege, a time for the testing of
souls. It is no time for superficialities, no time
for surface contacts, but it is a time when Clergy
and Laity alike must so deepen their faith and
renew their courage that they may be enabled
to show men and women that the only way out
is the way of the Cross. It is not the easy way,
but it is the only way ; it is not the way the weak-
ling would choose, but it is the way to victory.
"Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the
world, and this is the victory that overcometh the
world, even our faith."
God give us faith to overcome our fears, our
prejudices, and our sins. God give us faith to
see and understand His plans. God give us faith
to know and appreciate the power that belongs to
His sons. God give us a vision of the world's
need and a passion for the souls of men, for
'The great world's heart is aching, aching fiercely
in the night,
And God alone can heal it, and God alone give
And the men to bear that message, and to speak
the living word,
Are you and I, my brothers, and the millions that
Can we close our eyes to duty? Can we fold our
hands at ease,
While the gates of night stand open to the path-
ways of the seas?
Can we shut up our compassions ? Can we leave
our prayer unsaid,
Till the lands which Hell has blasted have quick-
ened from the dead?
We grovel among trifles and our spirits fret and
While above us burns the vision of the Christ up-
on the Cross;
And the blood of God is streaming from His brok-
en hands and side,
And the lips of God are saying "Tell my brothers
I have died."
O Voice of God, we hear Thee above the shocks
Thine echoes roll around us, and the message is
No power of man shall thwart us, no stronghold
When God commands obedience and love has led
UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL
FOR USE ONLY IN
THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION
Form No. A-368, Rev. 8/95